The White House, Office of the Press Secretary
September 11, 2004
Three Years of Progress in the War on Terror
"In the three years since our country was attacked, we've taken steps to overcome new threats. We will continue to do everything in our power to defeat the terrorist enemy and to protect the American people. Recently, the Commission on the Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States came to a conclusion that I share: that our country is safer than it was on September the 11th, 2001, yet, we're still not safe. . . . We are a Nation in danger. We're doing everything we can in our power to confront the danger. We're making good progress in protecting our people and bringing our enemies to account. But one thing is for certain: We'll keep our focus and we'll keep our resolve and we will do our duty to best secure our country."
-- President George Bush (August 2, 2004)
Three years have passed since the attacks of September 11, 2001. While the danger has not passed, America today is safer and stronger because of the actions taken by President Bush and his Administration to protect our country.
Protecting Our Homeland
The Bush Administration has made an unprecedented commitment to homeland security. Already, the President has led the largest reorganization of government in more than 50 years; strengthened our intelligence capabilities; expanded support for first responders and state homeland security efforts; and increased protection of our transportation systems, borders, ports, and critical infrastructure.
- Creating the Department of Homeland Security (DHS): The President has led the most extensive reorganization of the Federal Government in more than 50 years by creating DHS. DHS brought together 22 entities and over 180,000 employees with critical homeland security missions and provided the Nation with a single Federal department with the primary mission to protect the homeland against terrorist threats.
- Leading the Way on Reforming and Strengthening Intelligence and Coordination: President Bush has led the way on intelligence reform and has already undertaken a number of major reforms to improve intelligence collection, analysis, and sharing to obtain the best information on the terrorist threat to the Nation -- including:
- Acting on 36 of the 9/11 Commission's 41 recommendations: The President, on August 27, signed executive orders giving the Director of Central Intelligence many of the strengthened management powers over the Intelligence Community that will eventually belong to the National Intelligence Director (NID) proposed by the 9/11 Commission. He also established a National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) to serve as a central knowledge bank on known and suspected terrorists and international terror groups, as well as their goals, strategies, capabilities, and networks of contacts. The NCTC will also provide strategic planning for U.S. government-wide counterterrorism activities. The President also ordered that additional actions be taken to continue to improve the sharing of terrorism information among agencies and to improve our information technology architecture.
- Proposing the creation of a National Intelligence Director (NID) with the authority needed to get the job done. The President intends to give the NID budget authority over the National Foreign Intelligence Program appropriation and the management tools necessary to successfully oversee the Intelligence Community, including ensuring the full integration of foreign and domestic intelligence. The President seeks intelligence reform legislation that is consistent with the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission.
- Transforming the FBI: For three years, the President has led the effort to transform the FBI into an agency focused on preventing terrorist attacks through intelligence collection and other key efforts, while improving its ability to perform its traditional role as a world-class law enforcement agency.
- Establishing the Terrorist Threat Integration Center (TTIC) to integrate and analyze terrorism threat-related information collected domestically and abroad, ensuring that intelligence and law enforcement entities are working together. Elements of the CIA, the Department of Defense (DoD), the Department of Justice, DHS, and the FBI work to close the "seams" in our intelligence analysis. Launched in early 2003, the TTIC has been regarded by the 9/11 Commission as the foundation for the newly established NCTC.
- Creating the Terrorist Screening Center to consolidate terrorist watchlists and provide 24/7 operational support for Federal and other government law enforcement personnel across the country and around the world. The Center ensures that government investigators, screeners, and agents are working with the same unified, comprehensive set of information about terrorists -- and that they have access to information and expertise that will allow them to act quickly when a suspected terrorist is screened or stopped.
- Creating U.S. Northern Command to provide for integrated homeland defense and coordinated DoD support to Federal, State, and local civilian governments.
- Proposing and signing into law the USA PATRIOT Act, which strengthens law enforcement's abilities to prevent, investigate, and prosecute acts of terror, facilitating Federal government efforts to thwart potential terrorist activity throughout the United States. President Bush continues to call on Congress to take action to ensure that these vital law enforcement tools do not expire.
- Creating a White House Homeland Security Council, led by a homeland security advisor who reports directly to the President, to coordinate homeland security policy across multiple departments and agencies -- modeled on the National Security Council.
- Creating the President's Board on Safeguarding American's Civil Liberties to continue to carry out the President's commitment to protecting the privacy and other rights of all Americans.
- Significantly Increasing Homeland Security Funding: Since 2001, the President has:
- Proposed a near tripling of funding for homeland security. The FY 2005 budget will increase homeland security funding by 9.7% over FY 2004 -- not counting homeland security funding in the Department of Defense and Project BioShield.
- Strengthened counterterrorism efforts through the Department of Justice (DOJ), proposing a 19% increase in homeland security funding for programs within DOJ over FY 2004 to $2.6 billion. The FY 2005 budget also brings overall FBI funding to $5.1 billion, a $1.9 billion (almost 60%) increase over the FY 2001 level.
- Allocated more than $13 billion to help State and local governments prepare for terrorism. President Bush has sought and secured historic and massive increases in funding for first responder preparedness since September 11, 2001. These funds should be spent on training and equipping first responders for terrorism preparedness and response.
- Bringing Terrorists to Justice and Disrupting Terror Cells Inside the United States: The Department of Justice has charged over 350 individuals uncovered in the course of terrorist investigations, and convicted or secured guilty pleas from over 185 individuals. The U.S. government has disrupted alleged terrorist cells in New York, Washington, Oregon, Northern Virginia, North Carolina, and Florida.
- Strengthening Transportation Security: The Administration instituted a multi-layered strategy to enhance aviation security from the curb to the cockpit. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screens 100% of commercial air passengers and bags. TSA has trained and authorized hundreds of pilots to carry firearms in the cockpit, directed the hardening of cockpit doors on 6,000 commercial aircraft, and stationed explosives-detection canine teams at each of the Nation's largest airports. Federal Air Marshals ride aboard our Nation's aircrafts, protecting passengers and crew. The President's FY 2005 budget proposes $5.3 billion for transportation security funding, a 93% ($4.9 billion) increase over FY 2001 levels.
- Improving Border Security:
- Three years ago, there were inspectors from three different Federal agencies at our ports of entry. Today, the Department of Homeland Security's U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) consolidates all port inspection activities into a single workforce to create "one face at the border." The Border Patrol is also part of CBP, creating synergy between inspectors at the ports and those patrolling between them. More than 18,000 CBP Officers, 1,400 CBP Agriculture Specialists, and 11,000 Border Patrol Agents guard our Nation's borders.
- The US-VISIT entry-exit system uses cutting-edge biometric technology to help ensure that our borders remain open to legitimate travelers but closed to terrorists. US-VISIT was launched at 116 airports and 16 seaports across the country and the program is expanding to land ports of entry. This program has been very successful, processing more than 8.5 million travelers since January. The President's FY 2005 budget includes $7.1 billion for border security funding, a $3 billion increase over FY 2001 levels.
- Increasing Port and Cargo Security:
- The President has significantly increased funding for the Coast Guard, including dramatic increases for port security and acquisition of new resources. The Coast Guard is creating over a dozen 100-person Maritime Safety and Security Teams, to provide point defense for critical infrastructure and high-value shipping; employing armed helicopters to provide waterside security; and reviewing thousands of new vessel, facility, and port security plans. Funding for Coast Guard port security efforts has increased over 500% from the beginning of this Administration through 2004. The Coast Guard's Deepwater fleet modernization project has received a total of $1.5 billion over the last three years, and the President has requested $678 million in his FY 2005 budget.
- DHS has strengthened measures to protect the Nation from smuggled radioactive materials and nuclear devices, by equipping CBP inspectors, Coast Guard boarding personnel, and Border Patrol agents with portable radiation detectors and installing radiation detection portals at sea, land, rail, and air ports of entry, including mail processing facilities. The first radiation portals were installed in March 2003.
- DHS established the National Targeting Center (NTC), which uses computer-assisted analytical protocols to determine which cargo and passengers destined for the United States present the greatest threat, focusing examinations and inspections on them. The NTC screens data on 100% of inbound seaborne shipping containers (6 million per year) to identify those posing a "high risk"; CBP personnel conduct examinations of 100% of high-risk containers.
- DHS established the Container Security Initiative (CSI), deploying CBP officials to 25 major international seaports to pre-screen shipping containers for illicit or dangerous materials before they are loaded on vessels bound for the United States. CSI includes the ports that ship roughly two-thirds of inbound containers to the United States. Additional ports are being added over the next two years.
- Significantly Expanding Our Biodefense Capabilities: Keeping Americans safe from the threat of bioterrorism has been a priority since the outset of the Administration. Since 2001, over $10 billion has been invested across all aspects of biodefense -- and NIH bioterrorism funding alone has increased by more than 3,000 percent. The President and the Administration have:
- Approved "Biodefense for the 21st Century" -- the first-ever national strategy against bio threats -- that provides a roadmap for developing comprehensive U.S. biodefense capabilities.
- Proposed and signed into law Project BioShield, which provides new tools to acquire medical countermeasures protecting Americans against a chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear attack. Project BioShield is a comprehensive effort that will ensure that resources ($5.6 billion) are available to pay for "next-generation" medical countermeasures, expedite the conduct of NIH research and development on medical countermeasures based on the most promising recent scientific discoveries, and give FDA the ability to make promising treatments quickly available in emergency situations.
- Expanded international efforts to secure and keep dangerous biological materials out of the hands of terrorists.
- Deployed early warning environmental sampling systems -- the BioWatch program -- making it possible to detect biological weapons attacks against major cities. To date, the BioWatch program has analyzed more than one million samples.
- Increased biodefense medical research and development within the Department of Health and Human Services to more than $1.5 billion per year since 2003, thirty times the investment in 2001.
- Expanded funding five-fold for the Strategic National Stockpile of medicines for treating victims of terror attacks, ensuring that "push packages" can be anywhere in the United States within 12 hours.
- Stockpiled enough smallpox vaccine for every American and vaccinated over 600,000 members of the armed services. Trained hundreds of thousands of first responders to recognize and respond to the effects of WMD.
- Created the National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasure Center to systematically apply, for the first time, cutting-edge science to the study of classified intelligence about foreign weapons programs and develop first-class forensics in support of law enforcement investigations of biological crimes.
- Initiated a major new agriculture and food program to defend against diseases, pests, or poisons that could intentionally by delivered by acts of terrorism.
- Protecting Critical Infrastructure: The Administration has made unprecedented efforts to protect America's critical infrastructure against the threat of terrorism -- including strengthened security for chemical plants, nuclear facilities, and other potential targets of terrorists. The President's FY 2005 budget includes $864 million for DHS information analysis and critical infrastructure protection -- a seven-fold increase over FY 2002 levels.
Progress in the Global War on Terror
- Three Commitments in Our Strategy for Peace: To overcome the dangers of our time, America is also taking a new approach in the world. We are determined to challenge new threats -- not ignore them and simply wait for future tragedy. Our strategy for peace has three commitments:
- First, we are defending the peace by taking the fight to the enemy -- confronting them overseas so we do not have to confront them here at home. We are destroying the leadership of terrorist networks in sudden raids, disrupting their planning and financing, and shrinking the space in which they can freely operate by denying them territory and the support of governments.
- Second, we are protecting the peace by working with friends and allies and international institutions to isolate and confront terrorists and outlaw regimes. America is leading a broad coalition of nations to disrupt WMD proliferation. We are working with the United Nations, the International Atomic Energy Agency, and other international organizations to take action to preserve our common security.
- Third, we are extending the peace by supporting the rise of democracy -- and the hope and progress that democracy brings -- as the alternative to hatred and terror in the broader Middle East. In democratic and successful societies, men and women do not swear allegiance to malcontents and murderers; they turn their hearts and labor to building better lives. And democratic governments do not shelter terrorist camps, or attack their peaceful neighbors.
- Three Years of Progress: We have followed this strategy -- defending the peace, protecting the peace, and extending the peace -- for nearly three years, and the results are now clear for all to see.
- Afghanistan: Three years ago, Afghanistan was the home base of al-Qaida -- a country ruled by the Taliban, one of the most backward and brutal regimes of modern history. Today, a presidential election is scheduled for this fall, the terror camps are closed, and the Afghan government is helping us to hunt the Taliban and terrorists in remote regions. Today, because we acted to liberate Afghanistan, a threat has been removed, and the American people are safer.
- Pakistan: Three years ago, Pakistan was one of the few countries in the world that recognized the Taliban regime, and al-Qaida was active and recruiting in Pakistan without serious opposition. Yet the United States was not on good terms with key Pakistani leaders -- the very people we would need to help shut down al-Qaida operations in that part of the world. Today, the United States and Pakistan are working closely in the fight against terror, and Pakistani forces are rounding up terrorists along their nation's western border. President Musharraf is a friend of our country who helped us capture Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the operational planner behind the 9/11 attacks. Today, because we are working with Pakistani leaders, Pakistan is an ally in the war on terror, and the American people are safer.
- Saudi Arabia: Three years ago, terrorists were well-established in Saudi Arabia. Inside that country, fundraisers and other facilitators gave al-Qaida financial and logistical help -- with little scrutiny or opposition. Today, after attacks in Riyadh and elsewhere, the Saudi government knows that al-Qaida is its enemy. Saudi Arabia is working hard to shut down the facilitators and financial supporters of terrorism, and they have captured or killed many first-tier leaders of the al-Qaida organization in Saudi Arabia. Today, because Saudi Arabia has seen the danger and joined the war on terror, the American people are safer.
- Iraq: Three years ago, the ruler of Iraq was a sworn enemy of America, who provided a safe haven for terrorists, had used weapons of mass destruction, and turned his nation into a prison. Saddam Hussein was a proven mass murderer who refused to account for his weapons of mass murder.
- The Bush Administration, Members of Congress, and the United Nations Security Council looked at the intelligence on Iraq and saw a threat. The previous Administration and the Congress looked at the intelligence -- and made regime change in Iraq the policy of our country.
- In 2002, the UN Security Council yet again demanded a full accounting of Saddam Hussein's weapons programs. As he had for 12 years, Saddam Hussein refused to comply. So President Bush had a choice to make: either take the word of a ruthless dictator, or take action to defend America. Faced with that choice, President Bush will defend America every time.
- We were right to go into Iraq. We removed a declared enemy of America, who had defied the international community for 12 years, and who had the capability of producing weapons of mass murder, and could have passed that capability to terrorists bent on acquiring them. Although we have not found stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction, in the world after September 11th, that was a risk we could not afford to take.
- Today, the dictator who caused decades of death and turmoil -- who twice invaded his neighbors, who harbored terrorist leaders, and used chemical weapons, is finally before the bar of justice. Iraq is now becoming an example of reform to the region. Iraqi security forces are fighting beside coalition troops to defeat terrorists and foreign fighters. Today, because America and our coalition helped to end the violent regime of Saddam Hussein, and because we are helping to raise a peaceful democracy in its place, the American people are safer.
- Libya: Three years ago, Libya, a longtime supporter of terror, was spending millions to acquire chemical and nuclear weapons. Today, thousands of Libya's chemical munitions have been destroyed, and equipment to produce nuclear materials that could ultimately have threatened the lives of hundreds of thousands is stored in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Today, because the Libyan government saw the determination of the civilized world, and correctly judged its own interests, the American people are safer.
- Weapons Proliferation: Three years ago, a private weapons proliferation network, operated by Pakistani nuclear scientist A.Q. Khan, was selling nuclear plans and equipment to countries like Libya, Iran, and North Korea. Today, the A.Q. Khan network has been exposed, we have ended one of the most dangerous sources of proliferation in the world, and the American people are safer.
- Breaking this proliferation network was possible because of outstanding work by the CIA. Dedicated intelligence officers were tireless in obtaining vital information, sometimes at great personal risk. Our intelligence services do an essential job for America.
- The Senate Intelligence Committee has identified some shortcomings in our intelligence capabilities -- and the Committee's report will help us in the work of reform. President Bush believes that intelligence reform efforts should: 1) increase the number of intelligence agents to cover the globe; 2) invest in the best, cutting-edge technology to listen and look for dangers; and 3) result in better coordination among intelligence services.
- The President proposed the establishment of the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI). PSI is a broad international partnership of countries which, using their own laws and resources, will coordinate their actions to interdict shipments of dangerous technologies to and from states and non-state actors of proliferation concern -- at sea, in the air, and on land.
- The President proposed and the United States led the effort to pass UN Security Council Resolution 1540, which requires states to criminalize proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery by non-state actors, enact and implement effective export controls, and secure proliferation-sensitive materials.
- Missile Defense: The United States will soon begin the operational deployment of an initial capability to defend against long-range ballistic missiles from rogue states such as North Korea. While this initially will be a limited capability, it will provide a basis for improvements as the threats and technologies evolve.
- Terrorist Financing: On September 23, 2001, President Bush opened a new front in the war on terror by signing an Executive Order to freeze the U.S.-based assets of individuals and organizations involved with terrorism, and authorizing the Secretaries of State and the Treasury to identify, designate, and freeze the U.S.-based assets of terrorists and their supporters. Since September 11, 2001:
- The United States has designated 387 entities as terrorists or supporters of designated terrorists and frozen nearly $142 million in terrorist-related assets. More than $37 million has been frozen in the United States.
- The U.S. Government has identified and frozen over $4.5 million in al-Qaida-related funds. In addition, almost $72 million has been frozen by other governments worldwide.
- Almost 1,500 terrorist-related accounts and transactions have been blocked around the world, including 151 in the United States.
- Over 80 countries have also introduced new terrorism-related legislation, and 94 have established Financial Intelligence Units.
- Consistent with applicable UN Security Council Resolutions, more than 170 countries and jurisdictions have issued freezing orders.